Saturday, June 25, 2016

Jeff Locke, Cutch Team Up to Drop Dodgers 6-1

Jeff started the game off with an easy inning, capped by a sharp stop by Josh and equally sweet pick by JJ. Jaso then drew a four pitch walk off Kenta Maeda to open for the Bucs and went to second on a wild pitch.  A bouncer moved him up 90'. Cutch went down on three pitches and Freeser grounded to short, so no blood drawn. Both guys tossed clean second and third frames. Jeff put the Dodgers away in the fourth, and then a too-long silent bat went boom - Cutch launched a 427' dinger, turning on and crushing a 3-2 curve. Freeser followed with a knock before the fun ended. It was 15 up, 15 down after five for Jeff, aided by a sno-cone snag of a soft lob to left by Freeser. The bottom of the Pirates order went down without a peep.

The magic ended when Scott Van Slyke slapped a shin high change up the third base line for a lead off double in the sixth. He came home when AJ Ellis followed with another two bagger. He napped and was erased, picked off second by Erik Kratz and polished off in a quick rundown. Good thing, too, as Maeda followed with a single. A tapper moved him to second, where he remained.

Jeff flirted with a perfecto until the sixth (photo: Pittsburgh Pirates)

JJ walked to start the Buc half, and Starling's slap single moved him ahead a notch. Cutch got ahead 3-0, fouled off a slider and then hammered a heater into the second row of the LF seats; geez, it's good to see Andrew back. Joe Blanton got the call. He lost Matt Joyce after an out. He reached third when Josh whiffed on a 3-2 pitch with Matt running; the throw went into center and Joyce went to third. Matt jogged home ahead of Jordy, who drilled a 3-1 slider into the CF greenery 415' away, making it a 6-1 game.

LA came back with another leadoff double in the seventh, but can't blame Clint with the lead to try to squeeze one more frame out of Jeff. A two out single put Dodgers at second and third when Marte's throw went to third rather than second. No sweat; Jeff struck out Van Slyke on three pitches. Locke gave up a run on five hits with no walks and three K on 89 pitches. Pedro Baez tucked the Bucs away. Tony Watson took over in the eighth. A quick single and double put him in a pickle, and three straight whiffs got him out of it. JP Howell toed the rubber and a pop, walk and DP made for an easy time.

AJ Schugel answered the phone for the last frame. He got the first two outs easily before an infield knock/error (S-Rod tossed the third out away) put a runner at second. It just delayed the inevitable as the Pirates claimed back-to-back wins for the first time since they swept the Mets in early June.

Glove man Jordy is hitting .274 w/a 10 game streak going on (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Give Locke his props; now he has Mad Bum and Kenta Maeda as notches in his holster. We'll see if tonight is an outlier for Cutch or if indeed his balky thumb is on the mend. One of his fireball streaks would be a godsend to a laboring club. On to ESPN and Clayton Kershaw tomorrow, with Chad Kuhl making his MLB bow under a pretty bright spotlight.

  • Jordy has a 10 game hitting streak. And this was Cutch's second multi-homer game of the year, the other being April 26th against Colorado. He also had the only multi-hit day of the night as the Bucs managed jut five knocks. It helps when three of the raps leave the yard.
  • Jeff Locke's seven wins lead the staff. The team has won six of his last eight starts.
  • The Dodgers had hit at least one home run in each of their last 14 games, the longest active streak in MLB, until the Buccos tossed tonight's power outage at them.
  • Gerrit Cole and Fran Cervelli were performing some soft drills today as they begin their rehabs.
  • LHP Steven Brault is back at Indy after rehab (hammy) and started tonight. The rust showed; he lasted just 3-1/3 IP and gave up four runs (two earned; key throwing error by Alen Hansen) and needed 77 pitches to get those 10 outs.
  • The Yankee's DFA'ed Ike Davis as Mark Teixeira made his return.

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